We were reluctant to consider boarding school, let alone a school founded on military principles, for our son. I reached out to Rob Parker, Riverside’s Assistant Director of Admissions for Recruitment, to get more information because public and private schools were not meeting Luke’s academic needs. Luke was never in any trouble at school and had lots of friends. We were just unsure how to help Luke get on a path to success. Even with the help of tutors and an academic support class, his grades had fallen to the point where he was failing five classes.
The middle school administrator and I met to discuss other options, and she asked if we had considered Riverside. I told her we had already begun speaking with admissions. We decided to attend the Open House event scheduled for the following weekend. The campus was amazing, and the senior cadets were very well put together. We had the opportunity to hear from current parents and cadets as they shared about their experience at Riverside.
The car ride home was very quiet, but about halfway home, Luke said convincingly, "I want to go to Riverside." I was shocked, frankly because he was willing to give up all the social media and games that he spent almost every waking moment on. I can tell you that the ROC cycle was probably harder on the family than it was for Luke. I pestered everyone for "proof of life" pictures. We loved seeing him in uniform and a buzz cut. After seeing him for his first weekend of leave, I could tell we had the best of the old Luke and so much more of the new Luke.
I had reservations about whether he would make it in that environment. I don’t think I had the guts to make that kind of commitment at his age. I could see things taking root in his life and personality such as strength, honor, self-discipline, and most of all, pride in himself. Those are the things that come with Riverside.
Luke aspires to be a pilot one day. He joined the Civil Air Patrol and is excited about starting JROTC spring semester. I can already see so much more self-confidence in him. I think one of the other things that he enjoys is the brotherhood of the other cadets and the way they lead each other with guidance from the staff. It’s still a long way off, but I am hopeful that he will get accepted to the Air Force Academy or one of the other service academies. It’s always too short of a car ride to Riverside and a much longer ride home, but he is finally having fun again.